Commonplace Book #123

The first thing that must be said , and which can never be said powerfully and triumphantly enough , is that human fear has been completely and definitively conquered by the Cross.  Anxiety is one of the authorities, powers, and dominions  over which the Lord triumphed on the Cross and which he carried off captive and placed in chains, to make use of as he wills.  In the Old Covenant , too, there was a powerful command to “Fear not!”  But this command was challenged in various ways within the process of revelation: by the finiteness of the region illuminated by grace, by the fact that the grace that had been granted was characterized by hope for what had not yet arrived , by the incomprehensible threat of darkness breaking into the region of light despite the guarantees, and finally by man’s relapse again and again into sin.  Christ removed both the finitude of grace and its modality of hope when he tore down the dividing wall between heaven and earth (by his Incarnation), between earth and the netherworld (by his salvific suffering and his descent into hell) , and between the chosen people and the unchosen Gentiles (by his founding of the Church) and when the Father established him as the light of the whole world and the king of all three realms (Phil. 2:11).  Thereby every reason the redeemed might have for fear has been invalidated….Insofar as he possesses the life of faith, the Christian can no longer fear.  His bad conscience, which make him tremble, has been overtaken and girded up by the “peace of God which passes all understanding.”

Hans Ur von Balthasar, The Christian and Anxiety.

HT: Anton Sorkin